Off to the Tuscan hill town of Volterra

Volterra Travel Blog

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Tuscan wheat fields

The hill country is simply beautiful, with farms and cottages dotting the countryside.  Wheat fields were almost ready for harvesting, and of course, there were the ubiquitous olive groves.  We stopped at a few scenic overlooks for photo ops.

 

Volterra was one of the most important Etruscan cities.  The city bitterly fought against the Florentines in the Middle Ages, but like many Tuscan towns, it lost in the end and was given a fortress atop the city to "protect" its citizens.  Shades of the Rocca Paolina!

 

The most famous sight in Volterra is its Etruscan Gate, Porta all'Arco, built in the fourth century B.C.  It is the oldest-standing Etruscan gate.  In 1944, the Nazi forces wanted to blow up the arch to slow the Allied Army.  To save their treasured landmark, Volterrans tore up the stones from the street leading into the city and filled in the arch, and  convinced the Nazi commander there was no need to blow it up.  After the war, the arch was restored to its former glory.

 

Volterra is known for their alabaster, and many shops displayed beautiful alabaster products.  We lunched in the village square, then headed to the 13th-century wall to look down into the Roman theater, which was discovered in the 50's under the detritus of the town dump.

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Tuscan wheat fields
Tuscan wheat fields
Tuscan hillside en route to Volter…
Tuscan hillside en route to Volte…
Tuscan hills
Tuscan hills
Hill town in the distance
Hill town in the distance
Etruscan Gate
Etruscan Gate
Entering Volterra thru Etruscan Ga…
Entering Volterra thru Etruscan G…
Volterra outside the walls
Volterra outside the walls
Piazza
Piazza
Roman theater excavations
Roman theater excavations
Seating excavation
Seating excavation
Duomo interior
Duomo interior
Duomo ceiling detail
Duomo ceiling detail
Duomo dome
Duomo dome
Tomb in the Duomo
Tomb in the Duomo
Pews
Pews
Volterra
photo by: emperial78